The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

November’s Academy Achievers Sweep All State Guitar

Introducing Theo Gallant, Quinn Ross, and Taryn Ortiz – stars of the Academy guitar program.
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Lily Ma’ayan ’24

The Advocate would like to periodically recognize students in the 10-12 division for their extraordinary achievements on campus or outside the Academy community.

This month Albuquerque Academy guitarists found out whether or not they made it into the All-State Guitar Ensemble. Out of the 72 guitarists in the state who were accepted in this impressive event, 18 of them were Academy students. To audition, the musicians had to perform difficult pieces, sight-read music, and play scales. Academy students Theo Gallant ‘25, Quinn Ross ‘25, and Taryn Ortiz ‘25 were awarded the top three spots.

This week, The Advocate salutes the following:

Theo Gallant: Gallant received the highest honor as concertmaster, meaning that he will take on a leadership role in the All-State festival in January. He has played guitar since he was six years old and continued since joining the Academy. Gallant loves all genres of music in general, which is the main reason why he enjoys playing guitar. He believes that there’s a “special feeling” of accomplishment when he finally learns a hard piece and can see how he has improved from years prior. Also, guitar has not only given him joy but has also offered him the opportunity to do community service. During his sophomore year, Theo worked with the Kithara Project along with Ross and Ortiz, an organization that teaches children classical guitar at Valle Vista Elementary in the South Valley.

“I’m so happy that I won this competition, and I’m glad that 10 years of guitar playing paid off in the end,” said Theo.

Quinn Ross: As last year’s reigning concertmaster, Ross continued to pick and strum his way to further success, earning the second spot in the All-State Auditions this year. Similar to Gallant, Ross has played guitar for about 11 years, including his six years at Academy. When he was young, Ross started by playing basic rock and roll, playing in summer sessions at Rock 101 Music Academy, and in bands. It was not until his freshman year when he began to focus on guitar and develop a passion for it, especially after he learned about the All-State Competition. This competition sparked his love for classical music and challenged him to play some of the hardest pieces of music he had encountered. Since 9th grade, Ross has taken private lessons and is trying to improve every day. He attributes a good deal of his success to his teachers whom he admires. Some of the teachers he appreciates include Jeremy Mayne, Genevieve Leitner, John Truitt, Elizabeth Gatica, and Brian Moore.

“Classical guitar is a massive part of who I am, and I cannot imagine going a week, or even a few days, without playing my guitar,” said Ross. “I am amazed at my achievements and I have thrived due to the support of all my teachers.”

Taryn Ortiz: After being awarded second place in the All-State Auditions last year, Ortiz maintained her momentum, impressively earning third place this year. Like Gallant and Ross (her cousin), she has played guitar for about 11 years. Ortiz began learning the guitar in group lessons at UNM Music Prep School. She also started taking private lessons. This year, she is participating in several guitar extracurriculars, including the guitar quartet, the Latin American Guitar Ensemble, and the Guitar New Mexico Youth Ensemble (which is separate from the Academy and has students from different schools who meet once a week). Ortiz also enjoys taking part in yearly events, including the District VII Honor Guitar Festival, District VII Solo competition, Guitar New Mexico Ensemble, and All State. Ortiz says she’s also proud of her fellow colleague’s success and plans to continue with her classical guitar music in the future.

“I was really excited when I saw that Theo was concertmaster. He deserves it,” said Ortiz. “I was also really proud of Quinn and Andreas for being section leaders. I was excited when I saw how many of the people from the Academy made it into All State.”

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If you know of a student who deserves to be recognized as an Academy Achiever, please contact Austin Curtis ‘25.

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About the Contributor
Lily Ma’ayan ’24, 7th Grade Editor
Lily, or Lilith, '24 is the Advocate’s 7th-grade editor, working with our youngest writers and artists. She is a class officer who, along with writing, enjoys making art, some of which is to be used as cover art for friends. Lily joined the Advocate in 2021 with an interest in writing and a love of reading. She often listens to music with her two cats, Cocoa and Nilla.

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